On existing homes, the spray foam insulation can be installed to the attic, roof line, and the rim joists/sill plates to seal in the house.
We have collected the most commonly asked questions regarding spray foam insulation and answered them below.
We have years of experience installing spray foam insulation and if you have a question you don’t see listed below please contact us. We would love to hear from you!
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a spray-applied plastic that forms a continuous insulation and air sealing barrier on walls, ceilings, roof decks – any surface, really. SPF insulation is an excellent thermal insulator and stops air leaks through cracks, seams, and joints dead in their tracks.
It is made by heating, mixing and reacting 2 liquid components (we call them Iso and Resin) at the job site to create foam. The liquids react very quickly when mixed, expanding on contact to create foam.
Nope. Closed cell foam first entered the “mainstream” back in the ‘60’s; open cell hasn’t been around as long – it marks its beginnings in the early ‘90’s, mainly as a cheaper alternative to closed cell. We explain the difference between open and closed cell here:
Open cell vs. closed cell
While internally we calculate the cost of your project primarily using the square footage of the area we are going to insulate, we do not give out that information. Every job is different: some may require hours of prep work, some will require much more cleanup than others, some are just more cumbersome to spray and will command higher rates (i.e. crawlspaces and attics). What you’re really looking for anyway is the total job cost – that’s what we’ll provide. We will gladly provide free estimates and, depending on the complexity of the job, we can often give you a close estimate over the phone.
Fiberglass, cellulose and open cell foam all have R-values of approximately R-3.5 per inch. Closed cell is figured at R-7 per inch. (Yes, these values will vary slightly depending on the specific brand of foam but for all practical purposes, using R-values of R-3.5 and R-7 are close enough.)
The US Dept. of Energy has a nice page on different types of insulation: http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/types-insulation
No – unless it was improperly installed (primarily if the ratio of the 2 components mixed while spraying was not kept at a 50-50 ratio). However, while foam is being sprayed, there are fumes generated from the heat and chemical reaction that occurs while spraying which is why we wear respirators and will try to keep the jobsite ventilated (when possible). Once we are done spraying, there are no more fumes generated. Sometimes it can take a few hours to remove the lingering fumes, esp. if the work was done in a crawlspace or basement with few windows to ventilate. But generally, the smell is gone within a day or so. You can start hanging drywall as soon as we leave – there’s no need to wait days or weeks first.
Polyurethane spray foam insulation projects (e.g., walls, attics, roofs) using two-component systems are sophisticated applications that require expensive equipment and professional installation by a trained polyurethane spray foam contractor or weatherization professional. Polyurethane spray foam professionals will have the appropriate training, protective gear and equipment to apply polyurethane spray foam insulation.
There are insulating foam sealant products available in cans for Do-It-Yourselfers at home improvement stores. These products are used for small “bead-type” applications, such as sealing windows, doors, and filling small gaps and cracks and not for the general insulation of your home or business.
As with any professional you would hire for work, a few things you might want to look for in an polyurethane spray foam contractor or weatherization professional include:
- Appropriate training in polyurethane spray foam installation
- A good reputation and references
He/she should be able to advise you on the following:
- Where to install polyurethane spray foam insulation
- What to expect throughout each stage of the installation
- Safety precautions and technical specifications for the products being installed
As an added service, your contractor may also offer guidance on how to take advantage of local and federal utility rebates or tax credits.
The foam we use (whether open or closed) contains fire retardant and is rated “Class I” or “Class A” meaning it has a “flame spread” rating of 25 or less – lower is better. Our foam will burn if you hold a torch to it, but once the flame is removed it will quickly go out. THIS DOES NOT MEAN OUR FOAM IS FIREPROOF! It merely indicates it is not match-light, nor will a few stray sparks ignite it.
If you have a house fire, the foam will burn. Do not expect it to do otherwise. Building codes usually require all foam to be covered with a thermal barrier – in a typical home, this will be drywall. In unfinished areas (basements, crawlspaces, attics) we have a code-approved white, thermal barrier coating that we can spray over our foam to meet code requirements.
- Stops air and moisture infiltration to seal your home to greatly reduce energy costs
- Adds strength to the building structure
- Makes your home more comfortable
- Reduces dust and harmful household mold and mildew
- Reduces capacity requirements, maintenance and wear of HVAC equipment
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